Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Phenology: June 13, 2011

Posted by Kirk
The sun rose this morning at 5:26 AM and set 15 hours, 34 minutes and 8 seconds later at exactly 9:00 PM. We're now in the 9:00 hour for sunset which is a big deal. We won't get much later. Today was only 41 seconds longer than yesterday. The solstice is only 9 days away. While each day is still getting longer the increase is less and less each day. Next Monday will only be 10 seconds longer than next Sunday.

Week in review:

was just the start of what was to prove quite a few days of heat. I didn't get more then two hours into my work day when my son's childcare called. They were completely without power and all of the kids had to go home. On my way out the door to pick him up I saw m first June bug of the year.

Tuesday saw excessive heat warnings and was out first 100 degree day in the Twin Cities. It actually only got to about 98° F in the shade of the woods out at work but the official temperature at the International Airport reached 103° F. This was a new record for this date. The last time it had been that hot in the Twin Cities was back on July 31, 1988 when it actually got up to 105. The phrase of the day for me was Pavement Failure. Area roads buckled, cracked, heaved and in some cases literally exploded as they expanded.

While driving past some limestone cliffs I saw a bird fly into a small cave. I couldn't help wonder if it was nesting inside, seeking water or just looking for a place to cool down.

Wednesday was yet another good day for dragonflies. Volunteers training for our weekend dragonfly bioblitz identified Common Baskettail, Lilypad Clubtail, Common Whitetail, Dusky Clubtail, and Chalk-fronted corporal dragonflies all in just a short hike. While I didn't join them I did notice that the beautiful Cinnamon fern is up in the bog and loaded with spores.

Thursday and Friday were kind of a blur but I did take some time to notice that the blackberry bushes are in full bloom. Also in bloom are the pitcher plants in the bog and prairie smoke and wild lupine in the prairie.

Saturday was a nice day with some cloud-cover. It was an incredible contrast to the sweltering heat of the beginning of the week. I took a group fossil hunting at Lilydale regional park. The poison ivy was in full force. I was amazed to see there had been a huge landslide in the park. The entire side of the bluff had collapsed into the stream bed at the foot of the waterfall on site. It will be interesting to see how it changes over time. Some of my favorite areas are now completely covered with glacial till.

Sunday I spent yet more time in the garden. My wife discovered a cool looking spider. I took a close loot and it was a Bold jumping spider. I also noticed far fewer paper wasps flying around. That is a trend I hope continues. They liked to chew on our old wooden patio furniture to get pulp for their nests. We removed the furniture and I'm wondering if that had an effect.

What to watch for next week:
Biting flies. Yup, I'm sorry to say it folks. The biting flies like horseflies and black flies will increase this week and only get worse.